Severe weather causes flight cancellations

By Melissa Mahtani, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 6:45 PM ET, Mon January 3, 2022
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3:23 p.m. ET, January 3, 2022

FAA lifts weather ground stop at DC's Reagan National Airport

From CNN's Pete Muntean

The Federal Aviation Administration's data shows the ground stop for flights bound to Reagan National Airport serving Washington, DC, has now been lifted. 

The earlier ground stop at Baltimore/Washington International Airport has also ended.

In Washington, DC, 8.5 inches of snow was measured on Monday, making it the heaviest one-day snow total since January 2016 and eclipsing the one-day total from January 2019, CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller said. 

Washington is under a winter storm warning until mid-afternoon. 

3:47 p.m. ET, January 3, 2022

Notable snow totals from the winter storm hitting the Mid-Atlantic US

From CNN's Brandon Miller

People walk along the National Mall in Washington, DC, on January 3.
People walk along the National Mall in Washington, DC, on January 3. (Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images)

Washington, DC, received 8.5 inches of snow so far today. With the heavy snow starting to move out of the DC area, here are a few more notable snowfall totals from the region:

  • Baltimore (BWI Airport): 6.7”
  • Capitol Heights, Maryland: 11.5”
  • Atlantic City, New Jersey: 9.5”

It's still snowing significantly at this hour near Atlantic City.

2:04 p.m. ET, January 3, 2022

Maryland governor urges residents to stay off the roads as winter storm wreaks havoc

From CNN’s Jennifer Henderson

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan speaks during a press conference in August, 2021.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan speaks during a press conference in August, 2021. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is asking residents to stay off the roads because of heavy snowfall and hazardous road conditions, according to a news release from his office on Monday.

The roads are expected to refreeze in areas that remain wet or slushy with falling temperatures throughout the night.

The winter storm has caused more than 60,000 power outages in Maryland and an increasing number of downed trees, the release added.

Maryland State Police have answered at least 161 calls for service, responded to 41 crashes and 29 disabled or unattended vehicles, the release stated.

1:45 p.m. ET, January 3, 2022

Slow and steady: What you need to know about driving safely in wintery conditions

From CNN's Elise Hammond and Alaa Elassar

Cars stop along a snowy road in Arlington, Virginia, on January 3.
Cars stop along a snowy road in Arlington, Virginia, on January 3. (Jack Gruber/USA Today)

As storms on the East Coast bring snow to parts of the US, officials are warning people to avoid driving in slippery and potentially dangerous conditions.

According to research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, winter storms and bad weather are a factor in nearly half a million crashes every winter.

But, if you do have to go out, here are some ways to stay safe.

Before you leave the house: Always de-ice your vehicle before driving. Not only can iced-over vehicles make it harder for you to see, but ice flying off cars can also be hazardous to other drivers.

AAA suggests cleaning your windows and windshield and brushing off all snow and ice from the hood, roof, trunk, and lights. Experts also say to keep at least half a tank of fuel in your vehicle at all times and never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area.

On the road: The best policy for driving in winter weather is slow and steady. AAA says drivers need to slow down to account for lower traction. It also says to give the car in front of you a little extra space – increase your following distance to five or six seconds so you have more time to stop.

When you do need to slow down, do not remove your foot from the brake or pump the pedal if you have anti-lock brakes, AAA advises. Drivers that don't have anti-lock brakes should keep their heel on the floor and apply firm pressure to the brake pedal to the threshold of locking.

AAA also recommends that drivers avoid stopping altogether if possible. Instead, drive slowly so your car keeps rolling without requiring a full stop.

"There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it," AAA said.

If you're driving on the highway, AAA says do not use cruise control and avoid changing lanes.

Preparation is key: It's important to have a plan. AAA recommends drivers pack a winter driving kit to keep in their car. Below are some things to keep in the kit.

  • A snow shovel and traction mats
  • An ice scraper and window washing liquid
  • Booster cables
  • A flashlight and warning flares
  • A cellphone and charger
  • An extra set of gloves and a blanket
  • Emergency food supplies and water
2:35 p.m. ET, January 3, 2022

FAA issues ground stops for 2 major mid-Atlantic airports due to snow and ice

From CNN's Pete Muntean

The Federal Aviation Administration on Monday instituted a ground stop for flights bound for Reagan National Airport and Baltimore/Washington International Airport because of snow and ice. 

Advisories posted on the FAA’s airspace status website say there is a “medium” probability that ground stops will be extended.

Both airports top the list of the most flight cancellations in the country right now. The aviation tracking website FlightAware says 258 Monday departures from Reagan National Airport have been canceled, 62% of all flights for the day. And an additional 142 or 45% of all departures have been canceled at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

CNN has reached out to the FAA for a statement. 

Here's a look at crews at Reagan National Airport:

12:17 p.m. ET, January 3, 2022

Snow causes some Covid-19 test distribution sites to close in DC

From CNN's Sarah Fortinsky

Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced at a news conference Monday that all library sites will be closed for distribution of at-home Covid-19 tests for the remainder of the day on Monday, citing inclement weather lasting longer than expected. Previously, sites had been slated to open Monday afternoon.

"Last night we initially thought that we would be able to operate some COVID testing today. But given that the storm is going to be continuing later in the day, we've had to cancel that COVID testing for today," Bowser said, adding that DC residents will be able to pick up testing kits at the library sites on Tuesday.

Bowser announced Sunday evening that a snow emergency would be in effect in DC from midnight to 7 p. m. ET on Monday. Bowser said at the news conference that DC officials would announce later this afternoon if they determined the emergency must be extended beyond 7 p.m. ET.

12:03 p.m. ET, January 3, 2022

More than 725,000 East Coast customers are without power due to severe weather

From CNN's Jennifer Henderson

Snow falls in Asheville, North Carolina, on Monday.
Snow falls in Asheville, North Carolina, on Monday. (Maya Carter/Asheville Citizen Times/USA Today)

Severe weather across the East Coast has left more than 725,000 customers without power Monday morning.  

At least 166,857 customers in North Carolina, 75,476 customers in South Carolina, 85,592 customers in Georgia, 344,572 customers in Virginia and 53,568 customers in Maryland are without power as of 11:26 a.m. ET, according to PowerOutage.US.

Winter alerts extend from Georgia to New England as a quick moving, but powerful storm impacts the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Monday.

Winter weather has triggered hundreds of flight cancellations on the East Coast on Monday morning.

12:41 p.m. ET, January 3, 2022

US flight cancellations top 2,100 on Monday, with nearly 18,000 since Christmas Eve

From CNN's Greg Wallace and Pete Muntean

Travelers look at a board showing delayed and cancelled flights at Orlando International Airport on January 2. Nearly 18,000 flights have been cancelled since December 24.
Travelers look at a board showing delayed and cancelled flights at Orlando International Airport on January 2. Nearly 18,000 flights have been cancelled since December 24. (Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images)

Flight cancellations in the United States topped 2,100 on Monday and approached 18,000 since Christmas Eve, according to the latest tallies.

Southwest Airlines told CNN weather is responsible for more than 470 flight cancellations on Monday, which the aviation tracking website FlightAware said is 13% of its schedule. Southwest told CNN it had scheduled 3,600 flights for Monday. 

“Canceling hundreds of flights causes disruption across our operational system,” Southwest said in a statement to CNN. “A displacement of aircraft and Employees of that magnitude brings other issues, including staffing challenges. The storm has cleared Denver, for example, but the extreme cold requires additional safety protocols for our people working outside there, slowing the operation, causes delays and forcing some cancelations to keep the entire system moving.” 

The airline has attributed its cancellations in the last several days to weather and not staffing shortages due to coronavirus. It canceled very few flights daily until Saturday, when winter weather began sweeping much of the country. 

United Airlines said the Omicron variant of the coronavirus is responsible for more than half of its Monday cancellations. FlightAware reported 113 cancellations at United, or about 5% of its schedule. It canceled 118 flights, or 5%, on Sunday. The airline has canceled about 8% of flights since Christmas Eve. 

“Cancellations are driven by Omicron staffing and weather related issues,” United told CNN in a statement. “We did pre-cancel flights in anticipation of inclement weather. ”

United also increased the bonus pay offered to pilots to work extra trips this month. 

10:37 a.m. ET, January 3, 2022

Smithsonian closes all museums and the National Zoo due to snow

From CNN's Aileen Graf

The Smithsonian Institution closed all 21 museums and the National Zoo due to the snowstorm hitting Washington, DC, Monday.

The Smithsonian announced the closure on Twitter.

Despite the closure of the National Zoo, the livestreams of the giant panda enclosure remain active, showing the three pandas currently at the zoo enjoying the weather.